Interest Groups Notes 2013.docx

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Arizona State University
Political Science
POS 110
Michael D.Forrest

KS POS110 Notes 2013 I. Interest Groups A. Politics as Organized Combat 1. Government shaped by an enduring battle between many organized groups to direct the actions of public officials. a) EX: Obama wanted to import drugs from Canada to make them cheaper for Americans. Pharmaceutical companies would have lobbied against his campaign for the Affordable Care Act. The case of Obama and the health care demonstrates the power of interest groups b) EX: “Fracking”- A method of recovering natural gas that produces greenhouse gas emissions, undermines air quality, contaminates drinking water, while discouraging investment in cleaner, renewable forms of energy. Energy companies’, investing in campaigns in order to thwart the disbandment of “fracking”, exemplifies the power of interest groups in action. B. Interest Groups – What are they? 1. “Group of individuals who organize to influence the government’s programs and policies” (Ginsberg et al 243) 2. Organizational Types a) Membership b) Restrictive Membership (1) Restricted to particular occupational groups or other categories of persons (2) EX: Businesses, corporations, universities, etc. C. Interest Groups – Key Concepts 1. Interest groups have become the most vital and effective form of political expression for citizens trying to shape government decisions. 2. Interest-group activity foes not necessarily equal democracy, since those with more time, information, and resources are more likely to succeed through group action. KS POS110 Notes 2013 3. The growth of government programs has spurred the growth of interest groups 4. Interest groups follow many strategies aside from lobbying to shape government decisions. D. What Interests Are Represented? 1. Business and Agricultural Groups a) Generally have an economic interest in government actions b) EX: Petrochemical Manufacturers Association (broad), General Motors (specific) 2. Labor Groups a) Lobby on behalf of organized labor b) EX: AFL –CIO 3. Professional Associations a) Interests in state and federal legislatures b) EX: American Medical Association, American Bankers Association and the National Savings and Loan League (low visibility) 4. Public Interest Groups a) Representing the general good rather than its own selfish interests b) EX: The National Resources Defense Council, Common Cause (greater visibility) 5. Ideological Groups a) Support of a particular political or philosophical perspective b) EX: People for the American Way – promotes liberal values 6. Public-Sector Groups a) Desire for representation on Capitol Hill (1) EX: National League of Cities b) Interest in obtaining government funds for research and support KS POS110 Notes 2013 (1) EX: Harvard University, American Enterprise Institute E. Interest Groups – “Selective benefits” 1. Informational Benefits: a) Most widespread and important selective benefit b) Information is provided through conferences, training programs, newsletters, and other periodicals sent automatically to those who have paid membership dues 2. Material Benefits: a) Includes anything that can be measured monetarily (1) Special goods, services, and even money provided to members of groups to entice others to join 3. Solidary Benefits:
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